Aims: To report on the clinico-pathological features of a series of 14 intra-oral mucoepidermoid carcinomas showing exclusive intra-cystic growth.Materials and methods: All mucoepidermoid carcinomas diagnosed in the period 1990–2012 were retrieved; the original histological preparations were reviewed to confirm the diagnosis and from selected cases, showing exclusive intra-cystic neoplastic components, additional sections were cut at three subsequent 200 m intervals and stained with Hematoxylin–Eosin, PAS, Mucicarmine and Alcian Blue, to possibly identify tumor invasion of the adjacent tissues, which could have been overlooked in the original histological preparations. Additionally, pertinent findings collected from the clinical charts and follow-up data were analyzed.Results: We identified 14 intraoral mucoepidermoid carcinomas treated by conservative surgery and with a minimum follow up of five years. The neoplasms were located in the hard palate (nine cases), the soft palate (two), the cheek (two) and the retromolar trigone (one). In all instances, histological examination revealed the presence of a single cystic space, containing clusters of columnar, intermediate, epidermoid, clear and mucous-producing cells, the latter exhibiting distinct intra-cytoplasmic mucin production, as confirmed by PAS, Mucicarmine and Alcian Blue stains. The cysts were entirely circumscribed by fibrous connective tissue, and no solid areas or infiltrating tumor cell clusters were detected. Conservative surgical resection was performed in all cases, and no recurrences or nodal metastases were observed during follow up.Conclusions: Mucoepidermoid carcinomas showing prominent (>20%) intra-cystic proliferation currently are considered low-grade tumors. In addition, we also unveil the possibility that mucoepidermoid carcinomas, at least in their early growth phase, may display an exclusive intra-cystic component and might be considered as in situ carcinomas, unable to infiltrate adjacent tissues and metastasize.
Capodiferro, Saverio;Ingravallo, Giuseppe
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